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Dear Girl Scouts,

You don't know why your membership is declining?  You want to reach out to your alumni?  Oh, please, CALL ME.  I will be HAPPY to tell you why I was a girl scout, and why my daughter will not be.

Your CEO is on CBS This Morning, saying "people give more to animal causes than girl causes," and "our basic mission hasn't changed in the last 104 years."

EXACTLY.

I was a Brownie.  I was a Girl Scout.  I thought about going on to Cadets.  Then I wondered why I would want to.  All the years of my childhood, what I really wanted - was to be a Boy Scout.  Boy Scouts went camping.  They learned to tie knots, and build fires, and climb trees.  They built things.  They learned to "be prepared."

Girl Scouts cleaned the church where we met.  We washed windows.  We made crafts.  We had snack.  We were taught how to be supportive wives and mothers, and good little homemakers.  In short, everything we needed to be a perfect 1950s stay-at-home wife and mother.

A couple of years ago, we went to the... I guess you'd call it an activity fair at Charlotte's school, and both scouting organizations were set up.  The Boy Scouts had model rockets, and pine box derby cars, and when I talked to them they talked about camping, and knots, and fires, and rockets (OMG, *rockets*...) and learning to build things, and community projects.  Then I went to the other side of the aisle.

The Girl Scouts had pamphlets.  I asked what sort of things the troop does.  They do crafts.  They visit senior centers and soup kitchens, they learn to be "helpful."  They learn all the things they'll need in order to be a helpful little stay-at-home wife and mother.

Pardon my language, but fuck that shit.

My daughter will have enough things in her life impeding her from achieving... whatever it is that she wants to achieve.  And you know - maybe what she *wants* will to be a stay-at-wife and mother.  And that's fine.  But only if it's what she chooses and not what's chosen for her, or what organizations like yours convince her she wants to be. My little girl is bright, and lively, and competent.  She can be so much more than what your organization tells her she can be.

Luckily, we're so busy with the SCA that frankly, we just don't have time for you.  And the SCA is going to teach her ALL of those things: fires, and knots, and camping, and volunteering, and "crafts," and cooking, and art, and service, and doing for herself and others, and being a good citizen of the community.  Oh - and history.  And someday she and her spouse can learn together to keep house.

It's not 1912 anymore.  We can do all sorts of things now - we can vote, own property, have a career.  It's not even the 1950s anymore.  We've come SO far.  But there's further yet to go - be part of the solution, part of the future, not part of the past.

Sincerely,
Eloise

P.S. - don't get me wrong: I'll still buy the cookies.  I do lots of things on purpose that are bad for me, and I love the cookies.

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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
bytchearse
Jun. 9th, 2016 03:39 pm (UTC)
Keep buying the cookies!
It's a way to support the organization in their stated mission, because there will always be people who want to do what the Girl Scouts want to do. Just let them do it with someone's else's kids.

Also, whenever Herself wishes to learn about open-fire cooking, Uncle Jaji will be there. She'll love the fried eggs in egg spoons!
golden_meliades
Jun. 9th, 2016 08:20 pm (UTC)
I thought Girl Scouts did the same things as Boy Scouts, except that it's a girls-only group instead of a boys-only group. Consider me better informed.
golden_meliades
Jun. 9th, 2016 08:34 pm (UTC)
Also, I've never had Girl Scout cookies even though everyone refers to them in various forms of entertainment. I can only assume that they are tasty. Maybe we don't have Girl Scouts here? I remember a couple of my friends having brown uniforms with loads of badges on a sash when we were little and Angela said she was a 'Brownie' (which I thought was like a house pixie so it was confusing) so...I don't actually know. If that means we also have GSs here then why have I never been shown these famous cookies? Hmph.

It's not that learning to be helpful and how to do basic house chores and cooking isn't useful or anything...every human should know those things...but it's pretty darned limited. If they'd also teach some house repair and a few emergency skills, and some basic car maintenance if this is an organization that takes you to your teens, that would be better...that's not something only boys need to know and imo it never WAS something only boys needed to know, since it's not a great idea in a crisis to just sit around and wait until someone with a Y chromosome comes along to do everything for you. I don't mind the sound of what GS teach, unless they also try to tell the girls that that is ALL they can do. But it doesn't sound very interesting or fun, gotta say.
lauradi7
Jun. 11th, 2016 10:00 pm (UTC)
a very individual experience
I stayed in all the way through high school (graduated 1973, in NC), and so did my daughter (class of 2006, in MA). Aside from some cooking and sewing stuff, none of what you describe about Girl Scouting sounds familiar at all. I know that there is a lot of regional variation (like the troops in part of Texas that quit entirely because of the Girl Scout policy of treating lesbian and trans girls as normal). I wonder if this is mostly your area.
kls_eloise
Jun. 16th, 2016 12:32 am (UTC)
Re: a very individual experience
That could very well be. I've also heard that a troop's "personality" is very much a function of the specific troop leader's goals. Which I can understand, but still dislike. I guess I've just had terribly bad luck.

On the bright side, we have the SCA. Although I do wish for something she could do with her friends. C'est la vie.
lauradi7
Jun. 17th, 2016 04:34 pm (UTC)
Re: a very individual experience
The friends thing matters, and the opposite - learning to work together on projects with people one doesn't like is also part of it, at least in a well-managed troop. Could you find her a choir or other group?
I was trying to think of what my daughter did as a Girl Scout that isn't available to an involved SCA person, and only came up with the unit on women astronauts ;-)
Everything else - cooking outdoors, horseback riding, archery, designing garments, singing together, etc., could happen at events. There are troops that focus on STEM stuff, but hers did not, and the unit on merchandising certainly could apply.
kls_eloise
Jun. 17th, 2016 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: a very individual experience
The problem with all the various programs and such around here is that they all seem to be predicated on the idea of a stay-at-home parent. Everything starts at 4:00 or 4:30, and if you have a job until 5:00 and then transit time, it's game over. Some of my former co-workers managed it by having Grandma take them over, but my parents live 45 minutes away.

She's a happy kid, and the after school program for the half-dozen working parents in town has been really fantastic for her socialization wise. So she's hardly deprived. As much as anything, I'm projecting my own girlhood frustration at what I think is a really terrible message in this day and age.

She's happy, and we're swimming in compliments on her behavior and demeanor, so to be honest - I really shouldn't be complaining. :-)
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